Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Share your Thoughts

Why should we read Beckett?

What is your favorite work by Beckett and why?

How has Beckett's writing influenced you?

What questions about Beckett and his work do you think still need to be answered?

 

Rick
The trilogy is my favorite Beckett work. Why? It has a certain unity of place/time/character, and, overlooked by many people, it is funny!

Andy Black - How It Is
How It Is is my favorite book, bar none. In this text Beckett creates a new language, and encompasses all of human life and human relations. It's deeply strange and deeply moving. But probably not the easiest work of his to read first...

Michael from Madrid - What is the word?
It feels like it's a play and prose poem at the same time.

I like the way it builds up and breaks down again, like a breath.

It has a personal significance for me also which isn't easily explained.

rodney - Godot
Godot, since it was the first one I read, and at least then, summed up my viewpoint on life. Also I saw it produced at The University of Oregon in my senior year. I guess it has had an effect on me every since. A quote from it is in bronze in the Library Walk (E. 41st Street), thanks to me. Oh well, lets get on.

ARKA CHATTOPADHYAY
MY FAVOURITE IS HIS LAST NOVEL OR WHATEVER IT IS—WORSTWORD HO, AFTER WHICH HE DECLARED THAT THERE COULD BE NO LITERATURE! I LOVE IT AS A CULMINATION OF HIS AESTHETICS, HIS LINGUISTIC DIALECTICS. IT IS ONE OF ITS KIND, ONE OF THE MOST FASCINATING EXAMPLES OF WHAT IS CALLED METAFICTION TODAY. IT IS THE CREATION OF A NEW LANGUAGE, AN ANTI AS WELL AS META-LANGUAGE. A CURIOUSLY SELF-REFLEXIVE FORM & A SELF-REFERENTIAL TEXTURE OF LANGUAGE CREATE THIS LACANIAN DREAM OF A POST-LAPSERIAN UNIVERSE WHERE THE CHARACTERS ARE OOZED BY LANGUAGE. THE DECONSTRUCTIVE REDUCTIONISM OF THE GREAT MAN DEPICTS THE CLIMACTIC IRONY OF HUMAN EXISTENCE WHERE WORDS UTTER MAN RATHER THAN MAN UTTERING WORDS THEMATICALLY AS THE UNNAMABLE HAD PREDICTED! BUT INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, STRUCTURALLY THE NOVEL NOT ONLY BREAKS THE HORIZONTAL LEFT TO RIGHT SYNTAX OF LANGUAGE, IT ALSO CREATES A SELF-SUFFICIENT LINGUISTIC REGISTER WHERE WORDS DO NOT NEED ANY CORRESPONDENCE WITH EXTERNAL SIGNIFIEDS TO ESTABLISH THEIR RESPECTIVE MEANINGS. THEY PLAY THE DUAL ROLE OF BOTH SIGNIFIERS & SIGNIFIEDS! (ON. SAY ON...DIMMOST DIM...UNMOREABLE...ETC) THE FORM OF THE WORK DISLOCATES LANGUAGE FROM EXTERNALITY & GIVES IT A SORT OF EXISTENTIAL LIBERTY WHERE IT COMMUNICATES & REFERS TO ITSELF ONLY & RESULTANTLY HUMAN BEINGS ARE FREE WHERE AS IN THEMATIZATION, BECKETT MAKES MAN AN ULTIMATE VICTIM OF LANGUAGE! SO WHO WINS? LANGUAGE OR MAN? DOES BECKETT'S MINIMALISM HAVE AN ANSWER? YES PERHAPS, & THAT IS SILENCE & PARADOXICALLY ENOUGH,BECKETT SAYS—"A VOICE COMES TO ONE IN THE DARK. IMAGINE." BECKETT IS CANDIDLY ORACULAR, MYSTICALLY RIDDLESOME & ALEATORY IN AN IMPERIAL CADENCE HERE.

Brian - Film
21 minutes of Buster Keaton employing brow-furling, inquisitive carnality.